Men seem to be more vulnerable to dangers from high-fat diet of red meat and dairy. Such a diet can raise by half men's chances of developing the deadly pancreatic cancer.
Women were less at risk, although a high-fat diet did increase their chances by 23 per cent.
Just one in seven patients with pancreatic cancer live for more than a year after diagnosis.
Scientists from the National Cancer Institute in Maryland, USA found that men who ate a high-fat diet, especially from animal products such as meat and cheese, were 53 per cent more likely to develop the potentially fatal disease over six years. Their findings have been published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The study asked volunteers to fill in a detailed questionnaire about their diet and then followed their health problems. A high fat diet was defined as taking in 40 per cent of energy from fat, while low fat was just 20 per cent.
Researchers followed the eating habits of more than 500,000 people, and predictably the study is billed as the largest of its kind. The link is now found far more conclusive than ever in the past.
Recently scientists from University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Case Western Reserve University
found that a high-fat diet predisposed the cancer-susceptible strain to liver cancer, and that by switching to a low-fat diet early in the experiment, the same high-risk mice avoided the malignancy.
The investigators focussed their study on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a type of liver cancer that is one of the leading causes of cancer death worldwide.
They tested the long-term effects of high-fat and low-fat diets on males of two inbred strains of mice and discovered that one strain, named C57BL/6J, was susceptible to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and hepatocellular carcinoma on a high-fat diet.
Previous studies have suggested that eating two portions of red or processed meat a day increased the chance of developing bowel cancer by as much as a third.